| LifeTakes |

I Love You, Too

Ignoring my instincts to go out and warn you to stay on the deck, I watch you fumble with the latch

It’s a sun shower, just like the weather forecast predicted (for once, they were actually right!). I watch the sunny skies darken suddenly, and through the glass, I see you raise your face up to the sky.

You cock your head, considering; then, with a shrug of your little shoulders, so typical of your don’t-care, tomboy nature, you kick back and continue swinging, as high as you possibly can. You don’t waver when fat raindrops start to fall, speckling your T-shirt and pelting your hair.

From my safe, dry perch on the couch, I watch the rain drench the wooden deck, pooling on top of the covered grill and inside the hammock.

Then, just as suddenly, the sky clears, and the sun’s rays turn the raindrops into dazzling diamonds of light. You jump off the swing, land on your knees, hop up, and begin exploring. I don’t stop you; you’re already wet anyway. First, you peel the cover off the grill, shrieking in delight as the water cascades onto you. Then, you splash in the hammock, no doubt finding it like a curious, suspended little swimming pool.

But the best is yet to come.

Your eyes light up as something much more exciting catches your attention. Puddles! Mud! This is right up your alley.

Ignoring my instincts to go out and warn you to stay on the deck, I watch you fumble with the latch and skip down the wooden stairs. I move closer to the window, and the sight that greets me makes me laugh out loud.

Between my carefully planted tomato vines and strawberry plants, a little brown figure is dancing in the muddy water, singing aloud, arms flailing to the beat.

Then the mud-coated apparition kneels down and begins to paw at the earth. Mud pies!

My mind flies back to another time, a rainy day of a summer long past. I remember the joy of reveling in the raindrops, the soft, pliable soil, of dancing between the sodden clothes hanging from the line, the breeze tickling the back of my neck.

You look up, catch me watching you from the window, and smile wide, a shock of white against your dirty face. My gorgeous, stubborn, strong-willed daughter; I know the joy you feel. You and I aren’t so different, after all.

In an instant, you pound up the steps and crash open the sliding door. I hold my breath as drying mud crumbles off your clothes and onto the parquet, melding with the water that streams out of your formerly sparkly pink sneakers.

“Mommy, I made mud pies!”

“I saw, sweetheart. They’re beautiful.”

“I love the rain!” you enthuse.

I don’t shrink back as you press against me, staining my top and swiping against the pale beige couch. Your eyes are two bright blue orbs, shining with delight. Unexpectedly, you bend down, little lips brushing my hand with a kiss.

“I love you, too.”

It doesn’t take a moment for you to scamper back outside in search of another puddle. But the rush of love lingers long after the mud has been washed away.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 791)

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